Neonate Ravishment

A trick of the Zebra Longwing butterfly male is to loiter near the insect’s larval host food plant, in this case the Corky-stemmed Passion Vine. Most of the caterpillars will not stray very far to form their chrysalises in which to metamorphose into adults so the male Zebra Longwing know if he waits in the area long enough his time will come. When the adult Zebra Longwing butterflies emerge, the loitering male adults will pounce to mate with the emerging females as happened Friday morning in the pollinator garden at Audubon House at the Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area. The chicken wire wrapped around the pole supports a Passion Vine that is quite popular with the Longwings, who lay numerous eggs on it to serve as a food source for the young caterpillars. The chicken wire then becomes the support for their chrysalises that look like so many dead leaves caught in the wire.

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